She was at the centre of Channel Nine’s Today show audience, and indeed the nation itself, was left aghast last week when Sonia Kruger announced she would prefer Australia close its borders to all Muslim people. She rationalised her decision by saying it would inevitably halt the spread of terrorism and make us safer because of it.
But despite the heavy backlash she received online, Channel Nine is still welcoming her back onto the Mixed Grill panel come Monday morning.
Steve Allen, the boss of Fusion Strategy, told News Corp that TV “personalities and influencers” probably shouldn’t be passing judgement about very complicated news issues, because oftentimes they aren’t in a position to pass judgement.
“These stars earn considerable incomes and benefits by being popular. These incidents have the potential to unravel that. Audiences will turn off when a star says something or holds an opinion they strongly disagree with,” Allen said.
Despite the danger of allowing these popular personalities air-time on key political issues, the Nine Network stood by its Mixed Grill segment and defended Kruger’s right to express her views.
“Nine’s view is that we believe in freedom of speech and the Mixed Grill segment on the Today show is a place where that happens,” a spokesperson told News Corp.
Watch: Sonia Kruger apologises for her comments on The Today Show. Post continues after video.
“Sonia, David and Lisa each expressed a variety of opinions on the show this morning.”
This isn’t the first time the TV host has been embroiled in racial controversy – in 2008, Channel 7 was forced to apologised after Kruger made distasteful comments towards Dancing With The Stars musical director Chong Lim.
Referencing her outfits for the Melbourne Cup, Sonia joked, “Let’s just say there’s a sweatshop full of illegal immigrants working on them right now”, before asking Chong how his family was.
We’ll be watching in earnest to see what the panel thrashes out on Monday.